Complications following pulsed dye laser treatment of superficial hemangiomas

Patricia M. Witman*, Annette M. Wagner, Kathrin Scherer, Milton Waner, Ilona J. Frieden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Pulsed dye laser (PDL) has been reported to be safe and effective in the management of superficial hemangiomas of infancy. We report 12 patients with hemangiomas with complications following PDL. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Records of patients with hemangiomas and a known adverse outcome following PDL were reviewed. Results: All were treated early (age range: 5 days to 4 months), and all hemangiomas were facial with a superficial component. Eleven were treated with a 585 nm wavelength, fluence range of 4.7-7 J/cm2, without dynamic cooling. One patient received 7-12 J/cm2 utilizing a 595 nm wavelength with dynamic cooling. In eight cases, treatment led to severe ulceration with subsequent pain, scarring, and in one instance, life-threatening hemorrhage. In four, permanent atrophic scarring was noted without ulceration. Conclusions: PDL treatment of superficial hemangiomas may rarely lead to significant complications including atrophic scarring and severe ulceration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Atrophy
  • Hemorrhage
  • Port wine stain
  • Scar
  • Ulcer
  • Vascular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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